The Pantheon was constructed as a temple to all gods in ancient Rome. Even the name it was given can be translated as an ‘Every god’. In 609 it was given to Pope Boniface IV and rebuilt to a Christian church, since then on it has been called Santa Maria dei Martiri.
Since the Renaissance the Pantheon has been used as a tomb. Here some Italian emperors are buried as well as world-famous painters Raphael (his tomb is on the left from the main entrance), and Annibale Carracci, composer Arcangelo Corelli, architect Baldassare Peruzzi and some others.
It is interesting that to make a bronze ceiling for this Church, the bombards for the fortification of Castel Sant’Angelo were taken. Until the 20th century the Pantheon was the largest concrete structure in the world, and its dome was studied by Michelangelo before he started to work at St Peter’s Basilica.
Nowadays the Pantheon is still used as a church. All important Catholic days are celebrated here. Visitors are welcome to admire this magnificent building free of charge.